For the first time, as part of NBC Sports’ coverage of the 145th Kentucky Derby, it will present a companion betting show that will stream on its website and mobile app.
“NBC Sports Bet: Derby Special,” hosted by Ahmed Fareed, will offer the latest betting news, tips and tutorials, and feature analyst and handicapper Eddie Olczyk offering his picks.
The show will stream at 5 p.m. EST Saturday on NBCSports.com/Bet and on the NBC Sports app. The show will serve as a companion to NBC’s coverage of Derby which begins at 2:30 p.m. EST.
“We want to become a known destination and a known player in the space in 2019, for sure,” Dan Pozner, NBC’s director of sports betting content, told The New York Post this week. “Now, there is such a movement of the acceptance of sports betting and it becoming much more mainstream, there is more of an appetite for it. Why not lean into it more in a sport where it has always been part of it and is inherent?”
The web-based show airing Sunday features Fareed and Olczyk, who last year correctly picked the winning trifecta lineup at the Derby, providing viewer/bettors with last-minute information, the value available in the 20-horse field and offering picks in this year’s race.
This show will air until the horses begin their walkout from the paddock and all coverage will move to NBC on television.
Though the NBC coverage of the fastest two minutes in sports won’t have sole focus on wagering on the race, a producer of the network’s coverage said this week there would be more discussion of wagering as part of the broadcast.
“One of the takeaways I had from watching last year’s Derby show on NBC is that I don’t think we give Eddie Olczyk enough time to really explain his selections and why he’s making those selections,” producer Rob Hyland said in an NBC conference call. “We really want to give Eddie more time throughout the entire day to educate, entertain and inform the casual viewer on what goes into his decision making and give some more time to the betting in our show to have a few back-and-forths between Mike (Tirico), Jerry (Bailey) and Randy (Moss).”
The betting show streams 10 days before the one-year anniversary of when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned law making it possible for states to implement sport wagering. Eight states have implemented some form of sports gambling since the ruling with nearly 30 state legislatures currently considering sports betting bills.
This show represents the continuation of NBC Sports expanding sports betting-related content. In December, the network launched the free-to-play NBC Sports “Predictor” app that features the Premier League Pick ‘Em and Golf Pick ‘Em games. Also in December, NBC moved to lock up several domain names, such as NBCSportsbook.com and NBCSportsSportsbook.com, seemingly in anticipation of network expansion into sports wagering. It also registered non-.com sites including NBCSportsBet, NBCSportsbets, NBCSportsbook and NBCSportsBetting.
In January, the NBC regional channel in Washington, D.C. broadcast eight Washington Wizard games featuring the “Predict the Game,” a live in-game interactive experience with a predictive gaming contest, with accompanying real-time sports betting data and statistics. NBC Sports Philadelphia broadcast two 76ers games that featured alternative content including betting commentary, analysis along with up-to-date betting data.